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Some of you may be familiar with the San-X line of characters called すみっコぐらし. The shtick is that they're timid and like "living (ぐらし) in the corner (すみっこ)"

I know katakana is frequently used for emphasis, but what is the wordplay intended by writing just the single syllable コ in すみっこ in katakana?

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    To me, すみっコ looks cuter and tinier than すみっこ
    – Chocolate
    Apr 29, 2015 at 8:23

3 Answers 3

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What is a "corner" shaped like? ;)

In addition to drawing your attention by being unusual, it's visually appropriate for the meaning. I'd suggest it's as much/more a graphic design choice than any linguistic emphasis.

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  • ありがとう! The shape explanation makes perfect sense!
    – Timothy
    May 1, 2015 at 20:01
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To me, すみっコ looks cuter and tinier than すみっこ.

Similarly, はしっコ、ちびっコ、ひよっコ、いたずらっコ look a bit cuter, more casual/friendly, less serious and/or more playful than 端っこ/はしっこ、ちびっ子/ちびっこ、ひよっ子/ひよっこ、いたずらっ子/いたずらっこ, don't you think? 

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First of all, saying 隅っこ versus just 隅 is something of a colloquialism to begin with. And writing it with a コ instead of こ seems like a stylistic choice by a marketing team who is trying to be as cute as possible.

Look at how katakana is used in advertising and you will find many examples of how something normally written in hiragana/kanji has been switched out for katakana. This is often a marketing strategy used to make the text more eye-catching.

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  • Sounds a lot like Roman-based languages can use upper an lower case, as well as serif and sans-serif typefaces to convey different feelings. Oct 16, 2015 at 6:38

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